Now, don't just work out your way to fitness, but also track it regularly with wearable devices, as Hassan M Kamal tested and found out
Wearable technology has much to achieve, learn and explore. However, if you wish to get a working idea of how these smart wearables are poised to change the world we live in, getting your hands on one of the recent smart watches might be a good idea. Why? Firstly, it’s safe to assume that most of us want to be healthy and fit, but not all are dedicated enough to join a gym, or wake up early and go jogging. Right? Right.
TEST DRIVE: A week with the Moto 360
To gauge whether a smart watch is useful or not, we put the recently-launched Moto 360 to test. The results were quite astonishing. The one week we spent with the Moto 360, was an eye-opener on how sedentary our lives have become, and how easy it is to change, and get back in shape.
Our first attempt was at a weekend trail, which lasted for roughly 2.5 hours. During that period we had walked around 6 kms (8,000 steps) and burnt nearly 450 calories. It tallied to 2,000 steps short of the average daily requirement, which we had managed successfully by the end of the day. We also recorded the path we took via My Tracks app (available on Google Play Store), just in case we want to go back to the same track again.
For the rest of the week, we had walked above 4,000 steps on an average — which is too less from the target but it’s good to learn where we were lacking. This was just one of the apps.
The in-built sensors can track your movement, measure your heartbeat, and accordingly, calculate the calories burnt. You can add extra features to the smart watch with apps like Endomodo (to track your activity during walking, cycling, climbing, mountaineering, etc) and Vimo Fit (which automatically records your movement with respect to a workout routine selected by you or suggested by the app. You can use it to check whether or not you were able to complete a particular routine.
You can also study your health over a period of one week via the in-built apps that record distance walked each day, heart activity during the week, calories burnt in a week, and more. We realised over a week that our average heart activity was just 18%, and we burnt just around 2,499 calories, which was way below the expectations, but as we said before, it was good to know.
The Moto 360 is perhaps the most elegant-looking smart watch we’ve seen (it may be a tad bulky for some), and an ideal companion to keep tabs on your health. It also keeps you updated about incoming messages, calls, emails and notifications on social networks, as well as doubles up as an activity tracker.
We believe the watch can achieve more, if supplemented with more apps, which we hope will be improved upon in the near future, especially with more wearable gadgets on their way. So, if you want to get a first-hand experience of living with a wearable device, opt for the Moto 360. If you’re good to wait, similar gadgets like the Asus Zenwatch, LG G Watch R, the Apple Watch and the Microsoft Band should hit markets soon.
Hardware and performance
The Moto 360 gets an impressive 512 MB RAM, 4GB internal memory, and is resistance to water up to 1 metre. However, the screen (320x290 pixel) isn’t a head-turner; the pixel density is just 205ppi, and appears grainy. We also didn’t like a black patch at the bottom of the screen. Motorola could also do much better with a longer battery life. The device in the tracking mode (My Tracks running) lasts for just about 5 hours, and somehow manages to go nearly all-day on regular usage. The wireless charger, on the other hand, works at a great speed, giving the device full power in nearly 2 to 2.5 hours. However, despite the shortcomings, the Moto 360 comes across as a great watch, unfortunately, though, it’s compatible only to Android devices running on Android OS 4.3.3 and above.
Price: Rs 17,999
Availability: Expected soon
Apps to use (with Moto 360)
>> Endomondo Running, Cycling and Walking: To track and record activity during walks, running and cycling.
>> VimoFit: To track and follow a workout routine.
>> Android Wear: To sync your Android smart watch with your phone, helps customise look, apps and other features
>> Google My Tracks: To record your movement in uncharted areas, and create your own maps. Useful for trekkers.
>> Google Fit: Access your walking, running and cycling activities on your phone and smart watch.
Available in three distinct designs — Watch, Watch Sport and Watch Edition, the Apple Watch is being touted as the most impressive smart watch. Check mails, messages, answer calls and more, as well as track your health with its in-built sensors.
Availability Expected in 2015
Powered by Android Wear, the Asus Zenwatch gets a curved glass, and an integrated 9-axis sensor. Apart from the regular features of the Android Wear OS, the device can also control remote camera, and boasts of features like Find My Phone to help you locate your phone. Compatible only to Android 4.3 and above devices.
Availability Expected in first quarter of 2015
LG G Watch R
It’s been rated above the Moto 360 by some reviewers, largely because of its full circle screen. All the other features are same as the Moto 360 apart from a slightly more powerful 410mAh battery.
Availability Launched internationally; India launch expected soon
Also check Sony SmartWatch 2 and Samsung Gear Live
Compatible to all OS including Android, BlackBerry and iOS. This gets a thinner and longer screen, and comes with trackers as in smart watches, displays messages, and incoming calls. However, you will have to pre-select a size before ordering the device, which means there can be size issues.
Availability To be announced soon
Sony SmartBand Talk
After its last wristband, failed to impress, Sony has promised to introduce a more advanced version of the SmartBand by December 2014.